Bruce Andrews

Bruce Andrews is a multimedia writer, sound designer, art and literary theorist, and political scientist, based in New York City since the 1970s. He has maintained a consistent position and prolific record of activism at the radical edge of the literary avant-garde — as The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Literature in English puts it, as "a performance artist and poet whose texts are some of the most radical of the Language school; his poetry tries to cast doubt on each and every 'natural' construction of language." He is the author of more than thirty collections of poetry and performance scores, with many books, shorter texts, interviews, essays, recordings & commentary online at the Electronic Poetry Center, UbuWeb, PennSound, Eclipse, Jacket, and Wikipedia. Andrews was coeditor, with Charles Bernstein, of the influential L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E journal of poetics theorizing and discussion (1978–1982) and The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book (Southern Illinois University Press, 1984). His (stylistically distinctive) essays and interviews on poetics are collected in the Northwestern University Press collection Paradise and Method: Poetics and Praxis (1996). Andrews has taught political science at Fordham University since 1975 with a focus on global capitalism, US imperialism, the politics of communication, conspiracy theory, and covert politics. In New York City, he has been involved in a long series of collaborative multimedia theatrical projects and performances — with selected performance texts published in Ex Why Zee (Roof Books, 1995) and Sugar Raised (forthcoming). He has received grants and fellowship opportunities from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Harvestworks and Engine 27 (the last two involving innovative electronic treatments of his texts and vocals).

As composer, sound designer, and live mixer, since the mid 1980s Andrews has been music director for Sally Silvers and Dancers. (Every All Which Is Not Us, a live tape mix of Andrews’s multi-instrumental solo musical performances, was released as a recording from Xexoxial after its 1986 Washington Square Church staging. His live improvising as a musician/tape mixer took place in performances from the 1980s on.) Andrews’s multimedia performance compositions (offering text as well as sound/music design) have gravitated around the stagings of Silvers’s choreography, and include the recent Yessified (2009); Yellin’Gravy (2007); Puppy Skills; Rupt (2005); With Strings (Gertrude Stein Symposium, Judson Memorial, 2001); Dizzyistics (Roulette, 2001); Live Choreography (Construction Company, 2001); and Storming Heaven: Over a Century of Revolution (The Kitchen, 2000).

Andrews developed an innovative practice of “live editing” of poetic texts in performance with Silvers and other movement improvisers along with improvising musicians including Vernon Reid, Joseph Jarman, Butch Morris, Leo Smith, and Alex Waterman, as well as music/text collaborative compositions with Michael Schumacher. With Schumacher, he has collaborated on the compositional material used with Sally Silvers’s choreography in the last decade and with installation projects at Diapason, EMPAC, Whiskeytown, and other venues. He has also collaborated (sound and text and set design) with the experimental filmmaker Henry Hills, with graphic (typographic) designer Dirk Rowntree on the text/visual installation PREHAB, on several books with the British poet/visual artist Maggie O’Sullivan, and on multiauthor texts with US poet colleagues.

Currently, Andrews is orchestrating a Wiki-based translation project centered on his texts, with writers in Brazil and Germany, along with continuing collaborations with Silvers, Jacobs, and Schumacher.